This took way longer to get out than expected. I'm sorry about that.

I've just been exhausted.

Enough about me. Enjoy the chapter.

"If you keep popping into hell every time someone dies you're going to get caught eventually."

Harry hummed in hello to the annoyed angel that had just popped into his office.

"It's a statistical inevitability. I mean, you're supposed to be super powerful and all, but that's not going to mean jack if Lucy gets his hands on you. Then we're all boned."

Harry made no noise, instead focusing on the task before him. His phone buzzed again and he shot it an irritated glare before flipping it open and sending a text back to the sender. He slapped the phone back onto the table and continued carefully weaving magic together in front of him.

"I mean, it's like you want to be caught! And you don't even tell me 'Hey Loki I'm popping down to hell for a moment'." Gabriel's bad attempt at a British accent made Harry snort. "Aren't we supposed to…?"

Harry basked in the momentary silence borne from the angel shutting his mouth. He was sure it would be short lived.

"What are you doing?"

Ah, yes. Short lived indeed.

"Working." Was Harry's short reply.

"I can see that, mutton head. On what?"

"Something I've been putting off. She's nearly done."

"Please tell me you're not in to kinky sex dolls or something."

Harry blinked twice and only then seemed to realize there was a completely nude woman laying in front of him and what sort of implications that might have to anyone else. Thankfully there was a thin sheet laying across the lower half of the body which he'd finished reconstructing earlier. "Don't be perverse Gabriel." Harry said finally moving the sheet to cover more of the bare skin. "That joke was too obvious for you."

Gabriel shrugged upon noting he had Harry's attention finally. "I take the jokes as they come. They can't all be winners."

Harry snorted.

"I take it on good authority most of them are gold though."

"And whose authority is that?"


Harry raised his eyebrows and grabbed the scotch he'd set off to the side. He settled into one of the chairs alcohol in one hand, phone in the other.

"Who tipped you off about my trip downstairs?" Harry asked lightly.

"You think I need someone to tip me off?" Gabriel said in mock offense.

"Yes." Harry put bluntly, single eyebrow raised in challenge.

Gabriel smirked. "Castiel." He supplied finally. "He checked in on the Winchesters shortly after you left. I don't know why he told me."

"Must be the brotherly love." Harry scoffed.

"Who is she?" Gabriel nodded toward the woman on the table. There was no sign of life within her, but she didn't quite look like a corpse either.

Harry seemed to be drawn from his thoughts. "Ah, I forgot the two of you never met." He said eyes gliding to the table and then back. "Bela Talbot. An associate of mine."

"And why is she laying dead and naked on a table in your office?"

"A morgue seemed too cliché." Harry shot back with a grin.

Gabriel tried to return the comeback with an unimpressed look but Harry saw the twitch at his lips that betrayed him.

"She's not dead… per se." Harry said with a sigh. "That body hasn't technically taken a breath yet so it raises the interesting philosophical question of whether or not it could be dead. I like to think it's not… simply because having a corpse in your office is sort of serial killer-ish."

"Sort of?"

Harry grinned again behind the hand covering his face.

"So you're reconstructing her body because…?"

Harry shrugged. "A sense of moral obligation makes me sound far too much like a push over." He admitted. "She asked. I acquiesced."

"I take it she was in hell then."

"Fair guess."

Gabriel nodded to himself.

"So why are you here Gabriel?" Harry asked curiosity shining in his eyes. When Gabriel opened his mouth Harry cut in. "I mean other than to apparently chastise me for rash decisions."

Gabriel snorted at his description of going to hell. "I went around and found as many gods as I could. Just like you said to."

"It's a shame more of them haven't adapted to the times. It would be much easier to just phone them like the others. How many agreed to come?"

"After news spread about the last meeting? Not many."

"Can't blame them." They both intoned at the same time.

"Still, it needs to be done." Harry said with a frown. "I'm sure even fewer will be willing to raise arms in an organized manner. It's going to get chaotic."

"It's already chaotic." Gabriel revised for him. "You should have seen Northern Europe. With so many of the major gods taken out by Lucy everyone's trying to get into the top power spots. I saw Thor smite some human on the street because he looked like me. I had to keep my head low the whole time to keep from getting it knocked off."

"How did you manage to get in contact with anyone?" Harry said with more amusement than Gabriel thought was strictly necessary.

"I had to send in clones of myself to the ones that don't have phones." Gabriel shuddered. "Let's just say I'm happy most of them were clones."

Harry nodded knowingly. Loki wasn't a well liked figure at the best of times. Now that half the deity population had found out he was an angel in disguise there was probably even more resentment. Perhaps it had been a bad idea to send Gabriel on the trust building exercise…

"So what else happened during my Eurotrip?"

"Oh the usual, Winchesters asked for help with stuff they could've taken care of on their own if they'd used their brains. Went on a hunt. Got invited to a meeting with Death. Killed a few demons."

"Par for course then…" Gabriel was eying him speculatively. "Why exactly does Death want to have a chat?"

Harry shrugged.

"You realize that's usually a bad sign right?"

He shrugged again.

"The phrase knocking on Death's door is not usually used as a suggestion."

Harry offered a slight smirk in response pushing himself from the armchair. He'd sat for long enough. Time to complete the last step.

Gabriel followed.

Harry slid as dagger off of his desk as he passed and stopped just in front of Bela's body. He brought the tip down and made a light cut in the center of the woman's chest. The wound didn't bleed even slightly. There was simply a crevice in the newly made flesh about eighteen inches in length. Harry raised the blade to his own arm and cut more deeply. Red began to flow over the blade and dripped onto the split skin of Bela's reconstructed chest. He whispered two words in Latin and the blood that fell from his arm began to shine.

"You don't see that every day." Gabriel supplied as the glow started to fade.

The chest began to rise and fall rhythmically and the cut began to bleed. Harry pulled the sheet up to cover Bela's breasts.

"So, when are you going to… you know… chat with 'Death'."

Harry shrugged. "No set time." He supplied.

"In other words you don't want to go?"

"I'm not an idiot Gabriel. I've been putting it off because I'm sure it's not going to go well."

"I'm pretty sure putting it off isn't going to get you in the big guy's good book."

"He can bite me. He's not in my good book."

"Sometimes I swear you waaaaay over reach in the power spectrum."


"I mean, you're strong. Don't get me wrong…" Gabriel backtracked thinking Harry was insulted by the comment. "But come on. He's Death. He could kill us all if he wanted to… couldn't he?"

"You'd think so…" Harry said moving to his desk chair. "But to be honest. I'm not entirely sure if he could kill me right now. Eventually… probably. Everyone has to go some time. Or so we're told…"

Gabriel didn't seem particularly phased by Harry's non answer. In fact he was sort of intrigued by the odd almost longing sound in Harry's voice at the thought of death.

"I won't put it off too much longer." Harry cut off Gabriel's thoughts as he cleaned the blade. "He's already resorted to sending reapers to the Winchesters to get to me. That means he can't come find me himself, and he can get quite uppity when you ignore him. I'd call him arrogant if it weren't deserved."

"Give me heads up so I can book a plane ticket to whichever country I decide is furthest from wherever you'll be."


Harry set the dagger down and examined Bela's face. Any second now.

Bela lurched forward with a huge gasp hand flying to her chest and eyes flinging from one corner of the room to the next in panic.

Harry took a step back to give her space. He didn't want her trying to punch him again.

She took a few more deep breaths before turning her gaze on Harry. "I was starting to think you'd changed your mind and brought me back to hell." She said half arrogant joking and half still out of breath panic.

"Ah, so you could feel it when I went back."

Bela's eyebrow quirked in a 'no shit' kind of way. "What have I missed?"

Harry stepped to the side. "Bela, Gabriel. Gabriel, Bela."

"Hiya." Gabriel said with a goofy grin not even bothering to hide the fact that he was ogling her breasts that had been uncovered with her sudden change in posture.

She gracefully swung an arm under the sheet and lifted it to cover herself. "Pleasure." She said sounding like it was anything but.

"You boys are still sulking around down here?" Ellen's voice startled the Winchesters who'd been slowly nodding off while they were 'researching'.

"Can't seem to get rid of them." Bobby replied for them not bothering to look up from his book as he took a swig of beer.

"Anything happen while I was upstairs?" Ellen asked as Dean held up the page in front of him with a mysterious liquid on it that he swore couldn't be drool. He shook it hoping it would dry out before Bobby noticed.

"Harry showed up." Sam said not meeting her eyes. "I'm pretty sure he'll be back."

"Can't keep him away from me." Ellen said with a weak laugh that she clearly didn't feel up to delivering if the way it petered out before it really got started was any indication.

She moved across the room and sat on the musty couch Bobby kept in the study. She examined them all as they kept their eyes averted. "So he didn't bring any good news then."

"Well she's not in hell." Dean offered with false bravado. "That's somethin' right?"

Ellen caught his eyes and offered him a smile, but she said nothing.

It was and wasn't good news.

There was no way to win in this situation.

"I guess not all of us can die and come back." Ellen said with just a tinge of bitterness that had both the Winchesters cringing.

"Let's not be melodramatic Ellen." Harry said with an equally bitter smile.

"How long were you standing there?" Dean asked clutching his gun in surprise. Harry had spoken from right behind him and had made no sounds of entry before then.

"Not long." Harry said with a shake of his head.

"Did you meet with Death already?" Sam asked wide eyed.

"Oh yes, popped in and had a nice cup of tea." Harry said sarcastically. "No, Sam. I haven't. I'm a busy man. I haven't the time to jump to his every demand."

"That's probably the only reason he's still around. Hasn't had time to meet Death." Dean muttered in Sam's direction.

Harry snorted. "That's an interesting way of thinking about it. Reminds me of a story about three brothers I heard a long time ago."

"So if you weren't going to meet with Death what meeting were you talking about? And where have you been?"

"Always so full of curiosity." Harry said staring derisively at Sam. "I had some things I needed to do. Right now Gabriel's at my office briefing the newest member of our ragtag rebellion group. But that's a topic for later."

Sam wanted to ask more about the person who'd joined them but he stopped talking when he caught sight of Ellen out of the corner of his eye. There were more pressing matters to discuss at the moment. His curiosity could wait.

"Ellen…" Harry seemed at a loss as to where to start for once.

Ellen nodded. "I already know kid." She said surprisingly without any shaking in her voice. "Thank you for trying."

Harry nodded solemnly.

Silence bore down on the group uncomfortably.

"Alright." Ellen broke it. "That's enough of that."

"What will you do now?" Dean asked still failing to meet her gaze.

"I don't know Dean." She said with exasperation.

"What do you want to do?" Sam adjusted the question with a small smile.

"I want…" Ellen started then seemed to think about it with a long pause. "I want to leave."

The room fell silent again. Every one watched Ellen.

"I need time… to get my head on straight."

"Right now?" Dean spoke up. "We're in the middle of the apocalypse!"

Sam turned a harsh glare on his brother. Not everyone could bury the pain inside of themselves and try to drink it away.

Ellen didn't even bother to look in his direction. She kept her eyes locked on Harry who offered her a nod and an outstretched hand.

"I'll take you back to your truck."

Ellen reached for the hand.

"Wait!" Both Bobby and Sam called at the same time, scrabbling from their seats.

Ellen turned amused but shocked eyes on them.

Bobby had gotten around his desk but now seemed unsure of what to do with himself having succeeded in stopping her. Sam had no reservations. He stepped forward and drew the woman into a tight hug. Ellen stiffened at the contact and then relaxed a bit patting his arm.

"Whatever happens, you need anything, you call." Bobby finally decided to say as Sam released her.

"We're here for you Ellen." Sam added with a warm smile.

Dean just stood there awkwardly looking like he wanted to say something too but had no idea what would be appropriate. He shuffled from one foot to the other and offered her the most reassuring smile he could manage. It looked oddly close to a grimace.

She nodded and offered them a weak smile of her own before taking Harry's hand and vanishing.

"So… Dean Winchester went to hell and broke a seal. Angels are real, and one of them pulled Dean out of hell. And Sam broke the final seal and started the apocalypse…" Bela summarized hand steadily rubbing her temples.

"That's the gist of it." Gabriel agreed.

"The world really has gone to hell without me here." She frowned. "Clarify something for me though. Where do you come in, in all of this? No wait. Let me guess. Angel?"

Gabriel's chest had swelled with importance at being asked and deflated with the lack luster introduction. "Way to kill the reveal." He muttered. "So, you and Harry go way back apparently. How'd you two meet?"

Bela just gave him an ice cold evaluating stare.

"Right, forget I asked." He said with a roll of his eyes muttering 'frigid bitch' under his breath.

Bela shifted to a more comfortable position in her chair enjoying the sensation. She'd been deprived of even that basic comfort in hell. Being back topside was going to feel even more decadent than usual. "Despite all of this… thrilling knowledge, there's one thing I haven't grasped."

"What's that?" Gabriel asked boredom obvious in his tone.

"Why he brought me back." She answered honestly for once.

Sure, she and Harry had known each other. She'd even go far enough to say they were on decent terms. But this wasn't a favor like loaning someone down on their luck ten bucks. The man had pulled her out of hell itself and made her a new body. It wasn't something she actually expected him to do. Especially after his initial decline when she'd petitioned him for help with the hell hounds.

"Hell if I know." Gabriel admitted. "He's always doing things I don't understand."

Her lips pulled down in a frown. It seems the angel in front of her had little more knowledge of how Harry's mind worked than she did.

"Good afternoon ladies." Harry's smooth voice filled the room and he stepped out of thin air. His eyes landed on Bela. "I take it everything went well since neither of you is dead."

Bela rolled her eyes. Gabriel looked only slightly offended.

Harry checked his watch. "It's nearly two. How does a late lunch sound?"

"You want to go out to eat?" Gabriel scoffed. "Don't you subsist on alcohol and sarcasm?"

"I've been known to occasionally embrace my humanity." Harry shot back smoothly.

"I can't go out without clothes." Bela cut in motioning to her current cover, the sheet.

Harry heaved an annoyed sigh. "There's a box in the corner. I took the liberty of procuring a few articles of clothing for you."

"That might have been nice to know about several hours ago."

Harry glanced down and checked his watch. Two minutes past twelve. The others should have been there already.

A small pop sounded behind him. He turned and felt a bit of relief wash over him as Ganesh and three others tried to maintain their shaky balance.

"Harry!" Ganesh greeted eagerly as he spotted the wizard.

"It's good to see you're still doing well." Harry greeted with a smile. "Did something happen with the portkey?"

"Ah…" the large man took a step back from Harry with a sheepish look. "No, she's not a big fan of magic she doesn't know."

Harry glanced over at the woman, nay goddess, eying the soup bowl that had transported them there from somewhere in East India.

"How many more are coming?" Ganesh asked with a smile.

"I'm not entirely sure." Harry said with a shake of his head. "I sent Gabr… ah, Loki to Northern Europe to see who he could convince to come state side but there aren't many gods left that are willing to stick their necks out. Not after what happened last time."

Ganesh nodded seriously. He'd seen the carnage himself. He could only hope Lucifer would not find out about this meeting as well. "When is he due back?"

"Tomorrow afternoon at the latest." Harry said checking his watch again.

"You have somewhere to be." Ganesh said knowingly.

Harry blinked and looked up at the giant god. "I do."

"You do not want to go." The god beamed.

Harry huffed out a few short bursts of laughter.

"You act as though you go to greet Death himself."

"That's the gist of it, yeah."

Clearly that had not been the light hearted reply Ganesh had hoped to gain with his joke.

"It's not as bad as it sounds." Harry offered with a laugh. "More annoying than anything."

Ganesh shook his head incredulously. "Only you."

Harry smiled. "Indeed." He replied checking his watch again. "I should be going."

Harry glanced up to the gods and goddess that had landed in his living room.

"Make yourselves at home… just don't… sacrifice anything… or anyone. Take out menus are on the counter. Feel free to order anything you need."

The three unfamiliar guests seemed less than pleased with the arrangement but Ganesh just smiled and told Harry he had it under control.

It didn't take long for Harry to find a reaper. There was always one around if you looked hard enough. They tended to keep a low profile though.

"Hiya." Harry said patting the back of an old codger who was collecting an even older looking man's soul.

Looking a bit miffed the reaper turned in his direction before going blank faced. "Can I help you?" he asked without any inflection in his voice.

"That you can." Harry said with a smile that didn't ease the ice in his eyes. "I'm looking for your boss. The forgetful lout invited me to lunch and forgot to tell me where or when."

The reaper reared back like he wanted to put Harry in his place but after a few seconds seemed to think better of it. His chest deflated and he seemed to concentrate for a moment. "He's in Texas."

"Thanks for narrowing it down and all, but Texas isn't exactly the smallest state in the continental US. You want to try being a bit more specific sunshine?" Harry bit out smile still eerily etched on his face.

"South Texas." The reaper bit out before turning on his heel and gliding off rather quickly.

"If I didn't know better I'd think he was afraid of me." Harry snorted.

He twisted on his heel and suddenly he was standing in Lake Jackson, Texas. The quaint smell of a KFC filled the air. He wrinkled his nose.

From this close Harry could practically feel Death so it was little trouble finding him. Harry swallowed back all his reasons not to find the Grim Reaper and turned once more.

He landed in a small restaurant in Corpus Christi.

"Is it Hurricane season already?" he quipped at the back of the skinny man in front of him.

Death didn't dignify the question with an answer. Instead he gestured for Harry to take the seat across from him. "Cheese fry?" Death offered gesturing to the heaping basket now located between the two of them.

"No thanks. I'm watching my figure." Harry retorted leaning back and fixing the enigma in front of him with a piercing gaze.

Death just shrugged slightly and helped himself to some of the steaming pile.

Harry glanced about with a frown. "No mysterious deaths to go with your dining experience today?"

"There were no scheduled deaths in the area. I do not kill for the sake of it. I thought you'd learned that of me by now."

"Oh yeah, we're fast friends. Always have been." Harry snorted. "Oh, except that one time you allowed the mass genocide of my entire people. We all make mistakes though."

Death didn't bother to dignify his outburst with a response. He just calmly continued cutting what looked like a burger.

Harry shook his head. He wasn't sure what sort of rise he'd been expecting.

"It's a shame really." Death said taking one of the fries and biting into it. "It seems every time this planet gets close to evolving beyond its infancy stage someone hits the reset button."

"Ah, yes. 'Shame'. Don't you think that's a bit of an understatement."

"Don't get snippy now." Death cut him off finally meeting his eyes. He looked thoroughly unimpressed.

Anger reared its head within Harry. "Why shouldn't I?" He challenged through gritted teeth.

"I do feel regret over the loss of your people." Death said with honesty startling Harry from his fury. "They had the potential to go far."

"Then why kill them off?"

"I hardly went out of my way to take their souls." Death reminded him. "Physical death isn't something that my reapers will ignore and rightly so. If we start making exceptions just because they are your friends at what point would we stop?"

"I'm not asking you to have granted them immortality!" Harry seethed. "Only to have prevented them being slaughtered for some holier than thou wanna be with a superiority complex!"

"We've had this conversation before." Death calmly set down his utensils and met Harry's eyes. "The past is the past Harry. Now we must look toward the future."

Harry nearly felt his teeth crack he was clenching his jaw so hard. Eventually though it loosened. Death was right. There was no point arguing this topic. There was nothing to be done for them now.

"What did you want?" Harry said finally, tone defeated.

"A debt must be repaid." Death repeated the message.

"Yes, I'm aware of what you said." Harry snapped. "It doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense."

"Yes, I'm aware." Death replied flippantly. "I've already repaid what little debt I owed you."

"Oh really? I don't recall any cosmic changes in my life recently."

"Perhaps you've learned to overlook your current acquaintances. Most people wouldn't sneer at gaining allies in your situation."

"Are you trying to tell me you weaseled someone into setting up my meeting with the Winchesters? Or are you talking about some different acquaintances?"

"They did find you in a rather curious way, didn't they…" Death said seemingly amused by the whole topic.

"So if you think the debts settled, and I'm not entirely sure how shoving those idiots at me makes up for genocide…"

"They're the keys to keeping it from happening again." Death cut in hands folding in front of him. "Surely you of all people recognize that."

Harry's eyes narrowed and he continued on his line of questioning. "Why did you call me here if the debt's settled?"

"To propose a new deal of course."

"It was to pique my interest then… You have my attention."

Death produced a ring with a fat white stone. Harry's eyes locked on it immediately but he made no move towards it. "I understand you have quite an attraction to this."

Harry's eyes moved from the stone to Death's eyes. They were cold and filled only with a fathomless hunger he hoped he would never understand.

"Take it."

Death slid the ring across the table so it sat in the exact middle.

"In return for it I ask only that you break the spell this petulant angel has put on me." Death sat back to his fully straight position.

"You want me to break the binding spell Lucifer put on you?" Harry asked incredulously. "For a lousy ring."

Death's lips curled slightly into a mock of a smile. He could see directly through Harry's bluff, but he didn't call him on it. "It's one of four, I'm sure you know. It will allow you to open the cage they pulled him from so you can shove him back in."

"I'm aware."

"After that it should be a simple enough matter for you to break the binding magic."

"Simple might be an exaggeration of the truth."

Death's eyes glinted with annoyance. "Allow me to make the deal more favorable then. Do this for me, and I will tell you a secret."

"What are we in fourth grade? What secret could you have that I would possibly find interesting enough to do something like this?" Harry snorted.

"I'm afraid you'll have to follow through on the deal before I can tell you." Death brushed off his lap. "Now then, I have places to go."

"People to kill." Harry finished for him with a smirk.

"As mature as always Mr. Potter."

"I try."

"Good day."

Death was gone in a blink and Harry sighed feeling himself relax into the chair for the first time since arriving.

In the middle of the table the ring still sat perfectly innocently.

"What in the hell could he possibly expect us to do?" Dean argued arms folded across his chest.

"I don't usually agree with Dean on much," Sam said shooting his brother an amused smirk. "But he has a point. The last time we ended up at one of these god gatherings the majority vote was for us to be dead."

"It wasn't really 'majority'." Gabriel countered. "More like forty seven percent."

"Still not really liking those odds." Dean frowned. "Besides, didn't he say we were too self righteous for them?"

Gabriel shrugged. "Hey, he said offer to bring you guys so that's what I did. It's not my fault he changes his mind so much."

"What does he want us there for anyway?" Sam asked taking a seat on Bobby's desk.

"Figured you might want to make a few calls strategy wise."

"Do you think he can even convince them to help?" Dean said bitterly. "Pagan gods aren't exactly the most stand up guys we've ever dealt with."

Gabriel shrugged. "One or two might. I'm not expecting much."

"Harry's an optimist I guess." Sam laughed.

"Ugh, don't say that dude." Dean wrinkled his nose in distaste. "It makes him sound way too normal and that's creepy."

"How is that creepy?" the British accent nearly made Dean fall from his seat on the arm of the chair. Harry stood in the doorway to the room glancing at them all in turn with open curiosity. "Do explain Dean. How is normalcy creepy?"

Dean shot Sam a glare. He was pretty sure from the smug look on his brother's face he'd seen Harry standing there for at least a few moments before Dean had said anything. "It's not important." Dean skirted. "I'm getting a beer."

Harry's eyes followed the man stalking out of the room with amusement. He didn't really care what they'd been talking about. Gossip, even about him, didn't particularly intrigue him.

"I didn't know you were dropping by." Gabriel said snickering at the elder Winchester's discomfort.

"I hadn't made plans to." Harry said seriousness dropping into his tone.

"Then why are you here?" Sam asked eyebrows drawn together in confusion and worry. He could only hope it wasn't something bad.

"Well, my request for you two to come is no longer a request." Harry said flippantly. "A few things have changed."

"What happened?" Gabriel asked seriously.

Harry sent him a coy look. "I had a meeting with Death."

"That's where you went!" Gabriel said shrilly.

"What happened?" Sam asked eyes wide with wonder. Harry was clearly still alive so the meeting had gone better than the Winchesters and Bobby had feared it might go.

Harry shrugged. "We talked, we made a deal." His eyes settled on Sam's front pocket. "Nothing too serious."

Sam felt his fingers lift to the pocket subconsciously. Inside the two horseman rings the brothers had acquired were sitting along with the amulet they'd obtained. Had one of them drawn Harry's attention or were his eyes just drifting? Sam felt the need to confess, at least partially. The chance hadn't really been given before with everything that had happened since their meeting with Tessa, but now Sam had his moment.

They'd been asked not to say anything about meeting with Ginny but the rings were fair game right? After all the reaper had said Harry had at least one of them so they'd need to bring it up eventually anyway if they were going to use it. Sam opened his mouth to speak.

"Anyone else want a beer?" Dean asked waving around an ice cold beverage as he reentered the room.

Sam took it reluctantly just to appease his brother and make sure Dean didn't try to down two beers before they got warm. Harry had made it abundantly he didn't care for beer and Sam was sure Gabriel subsisted on a diet of high sugar soda. Beer in hand he turned back to the two non humans in the room.

"So… uh…" Sam started off eloquently. "Tessa… when she visited she mentioned a few other things."

"Like?" Harry asked eyebrows rising.

"The rings." Sam said hand moving toward his pocket until he forced it back down. "She told us what they're for… and…"

"That I have one?" Harry finished giving him a questioning look.

Sam nodded. "She didn't give us specifics she just said they were keys that could be used to open Lucifer's cage again."

"That they can be."

"The final ring…"

"It's with Death." Dean finished for Sam. "It's the ring you wanted isn't it?"

"Give the clever kid a cookie." Harry said smugly. "Not for any of the reasons that make it valuable to you lot of course."

"Right. You just like how it looks."

"It is a rather attractive piece." Harry agreed with a completely straight face.

"So after we get it from Death…"

"You'd like to borrow it so you can toss the devil back in the hole." Harry supplied.

"Basically, yeah…"

Harry shrugged. "I can't say I'm against the plan."

"So all we have to do is get the ring… from Death…"

"Don't make it sound so complicated Sam." Dean bit out. "I'm sure Death'll just smile and let us hack off a finger or two."

"You'd be dead before you hit the floor." Harry laughed.

"What's your suggestion then sunshine?" Dean snapped.

"Well, it just so happens…" Harry fished into his pocket and produced and gold band with a black stone set in it.

"You already got it?" Gabriel asked impressed. "Oh he must've wanted something big from you."

"I thought you said the ring we were after had a white stone…" Sam said, bemused.

Harry extended the hand holding the ring toward Sam and motioned for him to take it. Sam held out his hand and Harry let the ring drop. The moment the band hit his hand the ring changed shape, size, and color. Laying in his palm was a large silver ring with a white stone.

"It's the way the ring looked the first time I set eyes on it." Harry said taking the ring back from Sam who had been curiously examining it. Back in Harry's hand it shifted back to its golden state. Sam barely made out some detailing on it before it was pocketed again. "Magic is odd that way. I suppose there are reasons for it to change appearance but I have no idea what they are."

"So we have all the keys to shove that dick back in the box." Dean said sounding a bit happier than Harry had heard him sound it quite a while.

"Yes… all that's left is to find out how to make him jump in." Harry agreed.

"You could always just magic him back in." Dean suggested. "If what you did to that hotel is any clue, you've got the mojo."

Gabriel winced a bit and shook his head behind Harry's back.

Harry's eyes flashed. "What happened at that hotel wasn't a joke Winchester."

"I'm not saying it was!" Dean protested.

"Lucifer and I stand on very nearly equal grounds. Using as much power as I did then… it's like playing with fire. One wrong move and it's not only my enemy that's getting burned."

"We get it." Sam stepped in diverting Harry's caustic glare. "It would just be nice if there was an easy answer, you know?"

Harry deflated. "There's never an easy answer." He sighed. "Will you be there tomorrow?"

Dean glanced at the clock and grimaced it was late and the drive would take them the majority of the night, but he'd be damned if he wasn't taking Baby wherever they were going.

"We'll be there." Sam assured him.

Harry nodded and vanished. A rush of wings signaled Gabriel's departure as well.

The front door creaked letting the brothers know that they had a fair amount of explaining to do to Bobby before they hit the road. The man may even want to come with them.

"Hey Bobby!" Dean called. "You might wanna come in here."

So it's finally happened. Bela's back. I realize there are mixed feelings about that. Meh. At least the subplot about her limbo has been resolved. She may even prove useful.

Or she may steal everyone's shit and run off into the night. It's hard to tell with Bela isn't it?

Can you tell the clock is running out? We're nearing the final chapters. I can't accurately gauge how many we have left. It's definitely less than ten though. Possibly even less than five.

Next update soonish. I dunno, I'm not gonna make promises anymore for specific time frames. It'll be here eventually.

Let's hope this freaking terrible bout of relapse passes quickly so I can update quicker, yeah?

'Til next time